The boys never fail to surprise me.
There are many things about raising two autistic boys that have been difficult. There is the constant threat of sleep deprivation (that one frankly is the worst for me,) an abundance of impulsivity, and my eldest son’s intense OCD, to name a few things. On a daily basis things are sometimes challenging chez McCaffferty, challenges intertwined with frequent joy.
But every once in a while the two of them just knock my socks off. This summer was one of those times.
The past few months I watched as Justin adjusted to being home for almost four weeks without his beloved camps, which unfortunately didn’t open this year. I watched as he’d put out his backpack hopefully at night, then watched him put it back telling him gently there’d be no school the next day. In past years this would have elicted a super tantrum. This summer there was instead perhaps just a slight look of sadness on his face, then he moved on.
This summer I listened as camp counselor after camp counselor (Zach was in seven different camps, I go a little nuts) told me how my youngest son sometimes got frustrated, but was able to work through these times, often on his own. I was assured by each camp he’d be invited back. I saw my small son take over the stage at the Algonquin with his dramatic flair, felt my heart soar as he mastered riding a bike without training wheels.
And there was progress for Mama McCafferty too. This summer I took the plunge and took both boys to Great
Adventure alone for the first time. There were lines. We dealt with it. There was a fifteen minute wait for fries. We dealt with that too. We had fun, and I brought them both back home alive.
None of these things may seem earth-shattering to you, but they are monumental to my family. There were years with my sons that every day was so challenging our joys were muted, weighed down by the sheer difficulty of trying to get through each day. It’s not like that now at my house- our joys outweigh our challenges, a fact for which I am eternally grateful. I am slowly learning to take the time to acknowledge these small achievements, to revel in them, to extract them from my memories whenever times get tough.
Finally, I am making progress too.
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